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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Danville bats explode as top prospects make big jump

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Young Braves like Mahki Backstrom and Bryce Ball had big days while Nolan Kingham debuted at AA.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves farm system piled up three wins on Monday night. Let’s take a look how it went down on the Braves minor leagues.

Gwinnett Stripers — OFF

The Stripers didn’t need to play today to steal the headlines. Cristian Pache, Drew Waters, Ian Anderson, and Tucker Davidson all were officially promoted to Gwinnett. That’s quite the NHL-like line change, all ranking as top 15 prospects here at Talking Chop with Pache and Anderson the best hitting and pitching prospect in the system, respectively.

Mike Foltynewicz, who was slated to throw for the Stripers tomorrow, is heading back to the big league club. Anderson will take his place, making his Triple-A debut.

Probable 8/6 starter: Ian Anderson

Mississippi Braves, Tennessee Smokies

Players

  • Trey Harris, RF: 2-for-8, 1 RBI
  • Greyson Jenista, LF: 1-for-5, 1 RBI, 2 BB
  • Nolan Kingham: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K

Game 1 took two days to complete and the M-Braves delivered with a victory. The Braves entered the day with the lead after rain cut the game short on Sunday and would hold on. Philip Pfiefer was cruising once again through two innings, not allowing a hit and striking out four until the rains came. He’s now gone 31 innings since July 13, striking out 44 and walking three. That’s quite the transformation from his early season struggles that led to the demotion to Florida.

Kingham made his Double-A debut in the second game and impressed. He landed 47 of 74 pitches for strikes (64%) through five one-run innings. It seemed like he could have gone longer, and has shown he’s a workhorse in the past. He was reportedly throwing 91 into the fifth, and since he’s nowhere near a max-effort guy, he carries some back-end of the rotation appeal, especially climbing three rungs in the minor league ladder in 2019. There’s some work to be done, and he won’t strike out people, but he’s shown spurts of what he can be at all three stops now.

Unfortunately, the M-Braves didn’t score any runs today, with the three runs coming before the rains hit Sunday. Harris has now hit in six-straight with a hit in each Monday game, and Ray-Patrick Didder had such a Ray-Patrick Didder day. He went 0-for-0, reaching base four times on two walks with two hit by pitches and made a leaping play at shortstop showing off his athleticism. Here’s hoping he figures out how to make some contact one of these days.

Probable 8/6 starter: Off

Florida Fire Frogs 3, Daytona Tortugas 2

Box score

  • Drew Lugbauer, DH: 2-for-4, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
  • Logan Brown, C: 3-for-4, RBI
  • Matt Hartman: 6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K

Hartman put together a much needed solid start and is now rolling over his last three appearances, lowering his ERA over a point during that span.

At the plate, Logan Brown is quietly turning the corner, his three-hit performance extending his hit streak to seven games. He drove in the first run of the game before Slugbauer went yard with a two-run home run, his 15th of the season and second in the last three games.

Probable 8/6 starter: Brooks Wilson

West Virginia Power 5, Rome Braves 2

Box score

  • Justin Dean, CF: 1-for-3, 1 HR, .832 OPS
  • Griffin Benson, 1B: 1-for-4, HR
  • Alan Rangel: 6 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 K

Things looked good for Rome as Dean led things off with his seventh home run of the year. Though he isn’t as hot as he was in the first half, Dean has been a model of consistency this season and really coming alive as a serious outfield prospect. He’s now hitting .281 with a .831 OPS to go with 32 extra-base hits and a SAL-best 35 stolen bases. Not much falls in centerfield with his wheels out there either. Benson added the second run with his 13th blast of the year in the second before the Rome bats went quiet.

Rangel had a pretty typical Rangel night. He allowed 10 hits, eight of which were singles and the big damage coming off West Virginia’s big bomber Onil Pena with a double and a homer off Rangel.

Probable 8/6 starter: Jose Olague

Danville Braves 8, Bristol Pirates 5

Box score

  • Bryce Ball, 1B: 2-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB
  • Beau Philip, SS: 2-for-3, 4 R
  • Tyler Owens: 2.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

Owens wasn’t as terrible as it may seem. He was around the strike zone, landing 64% of his pitches for strikes and walking just one while striking out five. He was done in by the long ball as the other four hits he allowed were singles.

The bats saved the day however, as four D-Braves tallied two-hit games. Philip and Ball were joined by Willie Carter and Cody Birdsong with multi-hit performances, each also driving in at least run. It was Ball’s 36th RBI and his OPS is now a sizzling 1.127 on the year.

Probable 8/6 starter: Alec Barger

GCL Braves updates:

The GCL Braves dropped a pair of one-run games to the GCL Orioles but two guys we really like at Talking Chop had big days. Mahki Backstrom launched the first home run of his promising career behind a 2-for-2 day, while Vaughn Grissom extended his hitting streak to five games with a 2-for-3 day himself. He has eight hits over that span, raising his batting average 36 points in five games.